Experiences in Resin

I purchased some ICE resin from Fusion Beads last week, and it arrived Friday. I suppose at this point, now that it's in my possession, I have to at least try it out. So yesterday, I sat down and started filling my bezels. I have been collecting a few to try out this process with.

My first task was to fill the bezels. I pulled out a few sheets of PDF images I had printed up previously, plus a small bird book, and my first thought was- try to do something different. So I cut out circles that look like written word. And I painted little birds on each one (for the bracelet) with acrylic paints, and outlined them with details using an archival ink pen.

I was pleased with how they turned out. So I did another one of an owl for a small pewter bezel from Mamacita Beadworks. And another small singing bird on a branch, using a pewter bezel from Green Girl Studios. I colored these with colored pencil. The 1 copper bezels, I filled with scrapbook paper. The large circle pendant (Patera) I filled with the image of a hummingbird from the bird book. This all took me about 1.5 hours, of fussing, painting, coloring, cutting, gluing. Now it was time to get down to business.

I'm sorry that I didn't take photos as I was doing it. To be honest, the frustration level was high to begin with. I felt under pressure to mix it right the first time. So I'll try to describe the process.
I marked lines onto the measuring cup. I figured I'd go big and mix a whole cup worth. I poured in the hardener first, and then later read that it was the other one that I needed to start with. The hardener was supposed be second. Good Job Lor- nice job reading instructions.

I started stirring the concoction, and it was full of striations and bubbles. I stirred and stirred and stirred. For a few minutes at least. I let it sit for a few minutes. The resin came out quite cloudy... now after reading the instructions at IceResin.com, I knew it wasn't right. 
That's when I hit Facebook to see if I could summon up some help. It was a slow day on FB though, but Marie of SkyeJewels was there to talk me through my frustration.  I wasn't really sure what to do at that point, and my thought process was that maybe it will clear up once it's inside the bezel. So I poured the resin into 4 of my bezels, to which the result was yes, still cloudy. I was swearing at this point.

I start mixing a smaller second batch, this time pouring the 2 parts in the right order. The result- still bubbly and cloudy. While letting the first batch sit, I did some online surfing to try to get more tips, on the website, on the Objects and Elements blog... I let that first batch sit for about 15 minutes at least. I pick it up again. It feels like of warm, but not hot, and the resin has cleared up a bit and the bubbles had dissipated.  I filled the bezels on the bracelet at this point, and it looked good. I wanted this piece to turn out over all of them, just because I was in love with the little painted birds. After filling all 5 bezels, and they were looking pretty clear, I decided to fill the remainder bezels but first, I had to dump out the previous cloudy resin. what.a.freakin. mess. I wouldn't recommend you do this, there was resin everywhere. (but not in my hair, KJ! so I felt a bit triumphant! LOL)

 this one looks cloudy here but it dried completely clear.

I refilled them again with the clear resin and breathed a sigh of relief. I quickly picked up my resin mess, and moved onto jewelry for the rest of the day. whew!
Things I learned from the process.
- Be sure to cut carfully so the paper fits perfectly into the bezel. Try to avoid penned lines. The hummingbird image had an image on the back side of the paper. I penned in the line and cut carefully about 1/4" around the outside of that line to get the right size circle for my bezel. (I'm cutting the circle by hand with scissors, because I don't have a hole punch the correct size for this bezel) Now, as I look at the completed pendant, I see the pen line showing through quit clearly from the other side of the paper and also see the image from the back side of the paper. Not good.)

- I would much rather buy premade pendants from my friends, to save myself from the hassel of this. But, I might try this process again in the near future, after seeing positive feedback about my little painted birds. This might be fun to do again but with owls, or trees, or whatever I can think up.
-Keep your husband away from the drying pendants. When I showed them to mine, he touched one of them and there was almost a total loss to the owl pendant.

Overall, a positive turnout, but a frustrating craft. I wish you luck if you try it yourself!